The Office Busyness Indicator (OBI)

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It is now a frequent occurrence to see numerous health conscious corporate office cohorts trekking the surrounding streets as they brandish a vibrant assortment of “Thought Creation Leadership Sticks”. Thankfully, gone are the days where lunchtime consists of habitually sitting in front of your computer, whilst quickly munching on a bland vegemite and cheese sandwich, accompanied by yet another cup of coffee. No, lunchtime now signals the start of many a “walk of thought” where employees leave their computer monitors behind, whack on some runners, a stylish hat, and do some exercise to stimulate their thought processes in gleeful and creative conversation.

Many corporate offices measure their “walk of thought” prowess through the competitive use of a “Workweek Hustle” FITBIT competition. Here a leader scoreboard tallies each walker’s steps, or lack there of, each Monday through to Friday, concluding at precisely midnight. For those of you that are familiar with this activity, it is a common practice to see many participants walking late into the Friday evening in an attempt to add those additional precious steps that might just provide them with the highly sought after FITBIT badge of victory!

However, in a recent research study, at a yet to be famous university, the findings indicate that there is a direct causal link between the average weekly FITBIT count of all active “walk of thoughters”, and their office busyness. This link is called the Office Busyness Indicator (OBI). If one views the average team steps on a weekly basis, a busyness trend becomes all too apparent. When the corporate office is experiencing a high workload, or is stressed, the average step count is low. But when the employees are feeling creative, vibrant and in need of some thoughtful collaboration, the number of steps rises significantly as they engage in happy, walk-full dialog.

So, should you be a Human Resources Manager reading this blog post, the answer is clear. Just encourage all your employees to become “walk of thoughters”, equip them with a FITBIT, chart their weekly OBI result, and you will have a real-time scientific insight into the mood of your organization. Simple.

The Thought Creation Leadership Stick

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“Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them.”

I pondered these William Shakespeare words as I respectfully picked up my “Thought Creation Leadership Stick” and quietly acknowledged that I had just been “thrust”. Yes, it was my allocated turn to lead my fellow corporate office lunchtime walkers on a journey of fictitious discovery.

Like clockwork, at precisely 12:00 PM, those employees yearning for creative daily enrichment hurriedly assembled in the marbled office reception area eagerly awaiting the arrival of the scheduled holder of the Thought Creation Leadership Stick. Each person looked like any other typical employee, apart from the comfy grass-stained walking shoes brandishing their feet, and the small discrete hiking pack emblazoned with the corporate logo that snuggly contained a healthy company supplied lunch.

As I was now thrustfully tasked with my honoured opportunity of creative greatness, I carefully lifted the Stick of leadership authority that signalled to all onlookers the commencement of the lunchtime walk.

Off we went with an air of corporate cohesion, with me leading out the front as I mentally prepared for the numerous planned requisite creative stops. But this was not just any lunchtime walk. No sir, this was a walk in which the leader had to innovatively entertain everyone with an almost believable, yet highly fictitious, story along the way.

Each walk had an allocated duration of exactly 60 minutes, and to constructively utilise this time, I elected to take my walking colleagues along the muddy banks of Melbourne’s Yarra River. As stipulated by my esteemed position of holder of the Stick, we stopped at various picturesque locations where I creatively described the non-existent basic cave markings of prehistoric Melbourne man, the enticing smells wofting up from aboriginal campfires cooking a charcoaled selection of tasty barramundi fish fillets and yabbies, the first European naval ships equipped with copious stocks of rum soaked barrels, and the exploratory “beaming up” of our competition’s most valuable staff by the Martian aliens.

At the conclusion of the allocated walking time, we all returned to the corporate office with our FITBIT step count massively increased, our minds full of thoughtful creative inspiration, and an empty backpack symbolising a most content and happy stomach.

As holder of the Stick, I then proudly passed the leadership symbol over to a fellow colleague, which they accepted with a strong sense of humility and equally nervous anticipation.

So should you want to develop a culture of innovation in your corporate office, together with some complementary employee exercise, then may I suggest that you also have greatness thrust upon you and pick up your own Thought Creation Leadership Stick!

Your Personometer Count

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There is a noticeable surge in the flurry of corporate feet at the moment as they focus on one thing, their step count! For those of you that don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s called the Global Corporate Challenge (GCC) where work teams from all around the world compete with each other to achieve the greatest number of steps.

The step measurement device, called a pedometer, is strategically attached to the individual’s waist and accurately measures the number of “up and down” hip movements of the wearer. During the GCC, you will observe many corporates constantly on the move. They will be jogging on the spot, suggesting that business meetings be held whilst walking in the park, they will visit the café for their coffee that is located furthest away from the office, they will find any excuse to be mobile, they just want to be on the move. I’ve even heard of some people going to the gym late in the evening and walking the treadmill for hours whilst watching TV to achieve that optimum pedometer reading! At the end of each day, their pedometer count is recorded and compared with their competition.

Now this got me thinking!!!

It is said that innovation is stimulated through interaction with other people where ideas are exchanged. This can be done via informal discussions, meetings or anything that involves a degree of social intercourse. The key objective is to talk to your work colleagues and to bounce different thoughts of each other.

Now what if we could utilise the GCC pedometer concept to measure the number of people interactions that an individual has had during the day? The measurement device could be called a “personometer”.

There could also be a “personometer scale” where an interaction is defined by the following:
1 Personometer count = Talking to someone you know
2 Personometer counts = Talking to someone who you have not met before (which will provide the greatest opportunity for new ideas)

There would also need to be a distance and time receptivity built into the personometer so it deduces the length of the social interaction and how friendly and beneficial the encounter was between the recipients.

At the end of the day, the “personometer” count would be automatically collected and summed for those people in each corporate office. The results could then be used to identify which corporate offices are the most social, and those that are rather boring and “stand-offish” in their people interaction nature. It would also identify those employees that are best suited in building people relationships.

I also have a suspicion that there would be a direct correlation between the personometer count and the number of innovations devised by employees located in the more social corporate offices?

In summary, may I suggest you just get out there and talk to people, get to know new colleagues and try and optimise your personal personometer interaction count! It could also be rather fun….